Looking at a play area from an infant’s perspective
As part of SCPITC’s training on child care environments, care teachers take a look at a play area from an infant’s perspective in the infant room at the Learning Station in Conway. From left, are care teachers Ashley Banta, Rhenan Harvey and Tatianna Batchelor.
Exploring the active play area from a baby’s perspective
Care teachers Jeni Wheeler, left, and Tiara Moses get down on the floor to explore the active play area from a baby’s perspective in the 6-month to 1-year-old room at the Learning Station in Conway.
The importance of small groups
Care teacher Tiara Moses, at the Learning Station in Conway, demonstrates her work with a small group. As their primary caregiver, she provides small group time with her children every day. Small groups help provide the personalized care that infants and toddlers need, supporting peaceful exchanges, freedom and safety to move and explore, and the development of intimate relationships.
Because toddlers are constantly taking in information through their senses and trying to understand how the world works, it is important to offer them lots of sensory experiences. In this sensory activity in the toddler room at Columbia Jewish Day School, the children are developing their eye-hand coordination, exercising their small muscles, developing language skills as they talk about the activity, and also developing their social skills as they learn to take turns and interact with their friends.
Providing age-appropriate play materials and furnishings
This photo of a toddler classroom at Columbia Jewish Day School demonstrates the importance of child care programs providing a variety of age-appropriate play materials and furnishings. When children engage in active physical play, they are developing large and small motor skills, developing self-confidence and developing healthy habits.
The power of music
Music encourages children’s language development, social-emotional development and motor development. (Think about the song “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.”) In this photo of toddlers at Columbia Jewish Day School, the children don’t even realize how much they are learning, because they are too busy having fun!
A toddler’s social development
Language learning, problem-solving, fantasy play and social games are all part of a toddler’s social development. Here, a child in the toddler classroom at Columbia Jewish Day School demonstrates pretend play using an empty diaper box.
Daily active outdoor play for all children ages
ABC’s new Grow Healthy standards for child care require programs to provide daily active outdoor play for all children ages 1 through 12, weather permitting. Infant and toddler care teachers understand that getting outdoors is important for children’s health and development. In this picture, toddlers at Columbia Jewish Day School show off their physical skills and enjoyment during outdoor play.
Developmentally appropriate toys and furnishings
Infant/toddler teachers create rich play and learning opportunities for children by arranging an engaging environment with developmentally appropriate toys and furnishings. They continually design and adapt the space to meet the needs of each individual child, as well as the group. This classroom space at Columbia Jewish Day School encourages children to play alone or with each other, to be physically active, to make choices about materials and to explore learning opportunities.
“When I Play I Learn” bulletin board
In an effort to show parents the importance of play, the two-year-old class at Hunter's Ridge Child Care Center in Myrtle Beach has created a “When I Play I Learn” bulletin board and has displayed it on their classroom door. Using South Carolina’s Infant & Toddler Guidelines, the care teachers have created captions explaining the specific learning taking place as children play.
Putting each child’s individual needs first
This little one was exhausted during learning center time at Hunter’s Ridge Child Care Center in Myrtle Beach. Rather than insist she wait until "nap time," the teacher made an area for her to rest while the children continued their learning through play. This is an example of implementing SCPITC’s individual care policy by putting each child’s individual needs first, rather than strictly adhering to the center’s scheduled activities.
Having an appropriately-sized environment
Hunter’s Ridge Child Care Center in Myrtle Beach, S.C., embraces SCPITC’s recommendations for caring for infants and toddlers. Using their $500 materials grant from SCPITC, the one-year-old classroom at Hunter’s Ridge was able to purchase a child-appropriate table and chairs. Their teacher, Robin, says the new furniture has not only made meal times easier, but the children are also using the table to sit and read books and complete puzzles. The children are enjoying being able to get into and out of the chairs independently. Having an environment that is appropriately sized is an important part of healthy development.